Monday, 8 June 2009

Not in My Name

The EU elections.... you win some, you lose some.

It is with a feeling of pride and satisfaction that I see the results here in Sweden. Piratpartiet taking a little over seven percent of the vote and a place in the EU parliament - two if the Lisbon agreement is ratified. Moreover, according to exit polls, in the 20-30yrs age group Piratpartiet took the largest share of the vote -more than either Moderaterna or the Social Democrats.

That so many people are ready to vote for a 'single issue' party sends a clear signal that privacy and integrity are issues that are high on many peoples agenda - and it puts a presence into Brussels that will actively campaign to defend our democratic rights.

But.. I am at the sametime sad and ashamed. In Britain the far-right British National Party polled nearly a million votes, gained over 6% of the vote and will send two members to the EU parliament. That so many are ready to vote for a party that peddles racism and xenophobia dressed up as patriotism leaves me frankly bewildered and disappointed. What has become of my homeland?

Thankfully, there is hope... in the form of the Hope not Hate campaign which held in check further BNP gains as The Guardian explains..

"Their (BNP) failure to exploit these unique circumstances was in no small part due the mass mobilisation of opposition to them on the ground; a new politics of "Hope not Hate" forged beyond the Westminster beltway with unions, churches, voluntary groups, students and sometimes local political parties. The volume of literature distributed outstripped that of the main parties. Local "Hope not Hate" groups distributed 3,400,000 newspapers and leaflets; 1.6 million being hand-delivered in the North West alone, 850,000 leaflets in Yorkshire and Humber. On one day, 48 hours before the election, we held 180 simultaneous activities and hand-delivered 500,000 leaflets.

Over 50,000 people volunteered for our online campaign and 1,500 people donated. We placed anti-BNP articles in the national newspapers on a daily basis and our eve-of-poll email was sent to 600,000 people, the biggest single email in British domestic political history. We estimate that 5,000 people took part in the on-the-ground campaigns around the country, many for the first time in their lives."

Hope not Hate have an online petition called Not in My Name. If I had a UK postcode I would sign up... but I don't, so I am writing this....

Never in My name....

Footnote added: Who voted BNP and why from Channel 4

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